by TING XIN YI

When I was young, I have always dreamed about going to other countries. And
yes, I hated my life in Malaysia. Life was so hectic back then and there’s just
too much stress to handle. Sometimes, I even wish that time would just pass by
sooner so that I can leave this country for good and start a new chapter of my life
somewhere else. But all those thoughts started to change when I first landed in
Australia.

When I first came to Australia with my family, I was overwhelmed by how
friendly the people are. They never ceased to make me smile. They would simply
just smile at you whenever you walk past them, which show how friendly they
are. That’s something that you don’t get to see everywhere, including Malaysia.
I still remembered once, when I was at the cash register getting ready to pay for
the items that I purchased, the cashier was very friendly and asked, “Hi, how are
you? Did you have a great day?” I was kind of surprised that she would ask such a
question since I just came here for only a few days, so I was not used to their so-
called “culture”. So, I hesitated for a few seconds, and then replied, “I’m fine. Yes,
I had a great day today”. Somehow, I felt a sudden warmness in my heart, and
that’s something that you can’t find anywhere else but here in Australia.

The 13th of February, which is also known as Orientation day, I went to the
college accompanied by my family. When I first stepped into the campus, I was
stunned to see how beautiful the campus was. All I saw was an old church,
old building with a unique Western architecture, as well as tall green trees
surrounding the campus. I can definitely feel the tranquility and serenity
surrounding me. On the first day of Orientation, I was very fortunate to meet
many international students whom come from different countries. I was kind
of surprised that there are many Malaysians who are also studying here too. At
first, I thought I would be the only Malaysian who’s going to be studying here but
I guess I stand corrected. There are also many students who come from different
countries such as China, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia,
Sri Lanka and many more. Since we had 2 weeks of Orientation, thus I had the
opportunity to meet more new friends as well as getting to bond with them.
Throughout those 2 weeks of orientation, I had a great time making new friends,
as well as having fun playing games, as well as learning new things. It was indeed
one of those memories that I will never forget.

2 weeks later, lectures and tutorials finally began. On the first day of class, I have
to admit, I was very nervous. I was hoping that the lecturers here wouldn’t be as
strict as they are back in Malaysia. To my astonishment, not only the lecturers
here are friendly, but they also have a great sense of humor. Sometimes, they
would share some jokes just to brighten our day. It definitely makes 2 hours of
lecture less boring than it originally was.

Yes, classes have been great, but not everything turned out to be great. Not only
does studying abroad means studying in overseas, but it also means leaving
your home country, leaving your love ones behind, including your family and

friends. In my opinion, I think that is one of the biggest sacrifices I have to
make. Honestly, I can’t describe how much I miss my family right now. After
staying with my family for nearly 18 years, I feel so much closer to my family,
but now that I am here in Australia, I can’t spend time with them anymore. Yes,
phone calls are one way to communicate with them, but it just doesn’t feel the
same. Sometimes, I wish I could be there with them physically, instead of being
thousand miles away from them. Deep down inside my heart, I know my parents
want the best for me, and that’s why they sent me here, so that I can have a
better education. I think one of the toughest things I have to deal with is being
independent. Yes, my mother used to cook dinners for me, but now I have to do
the cooking, and not to mention the house chores too. Now I realize how hard
cooking is, and began to appreciate everything my mother has done for me. I
guess being independent is part of growing up too. Furthermore, I miss some
of my friends back in Malaysia. I made so many true friends there, and leaving
them was the worst part of all. As one says, “A friend is one who believes in you
when you have ceased to believe in yourself.” I am truly thankful to have such
wonderful friends who stood there by my side when I really need them. I don’t
think I can ever find friends as good as them.

Honestly, I am very grateful for everything God has given me. I am so thankful to
have such wonderful family and friends. I feel blessed to be able to study abroad
because I know that not everyone has that opportunity to do so. I promised
myself that I would cherish every moment and be appreciative for what I have.

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